Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Dream Anniversary

My birthday is this week.  I never consider birthdays as anniversaries.  They’re not, but there was an anniversary in my life this week.  It had nothing to do with my birth or our marriage.  It had to do with a dream.

I find it remarkable that I haven’t blogged about this dream.  It was so vivid and so apparently from God.  Regardless, Monday was the three year anniversary (not birthday) of this dream, and its still evolving in my spirit and life.

In my last post, I wrote about seeing Psalm 102 with new eyes.  I had always felt that in verses 18-22 I caught a glimpse of the heart of God that absolutely rocked my world.  It was so simple, yet powerful.  Now, with new eyes, I see in the same verses a prompting of the Holy Spirit to write what God has done and is doing to inspire praise and worship in the generations to come and across the globe.  I knew those verses from reading them in The Message translation for the past 13 years, but, now, the Spirit has given me a duty to perform as revival, the opening of death cells, begins.  Write.  I saw it, but I didn’t see; however, I see it now.  Alleluia. 

In the dream, I saw the profiles of a man and a woman and heard a voice say, “Many people find the book of Ezekiel to be confusing.”  I then saw the name and numbers, “Ezekiel 379.”  It woke me up.  I went into the living room and saw April’s bible on an end table.  I picked it up and turned first to Ezekiel 3: 7-9.  It didn’t make any sense to me.

But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. See, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. (NRSV)

I thought, “Well, let’s look at 37:9.”  I did and it thrilled my soul.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” (NRSV)

Oh, my!  This thrilled me.  I was pastoring a church at this time that April and I loved.  We believed we’d been brought there by God to be instruments of revival and Holy Spirit outpouring.  This verse convinced me of that.  I rose from the chair and praised God, spoke out loud, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live, “ and subsequently turned to each of the four walls in the house and spoke the verse.  I continued, believing every word I spoke until I finally broke down in tears and laughter.  The Presence had come.  It just thrilled my soul. Revival was coming!  Alleluia!

In order to not be ashamed of what I dreamed, a few weeks later a preached about what I believe was coming from the Lord for our community and region.  I told the congregation in two services about the dream and encouraged them to believe with me.  They nodded in approval as good church folks are prone to do.

A year and a half later, the leadership and I were not on the same page.  Two years after the dream, April and I were out of the denomination in which we ministered for over 20 years, but where we never felt comfortable.

On the three year anniversary of the dream and my experience in the living room, I read both Ezekiel 3: 7-9 and 37: 9.  Something changed.  I had eyes to see.  Ezekiel 3 was dramatically clear.  It accurately depicted what was to happen from the perspectives of both the church and myself.  The congregation, as a whole, lived as a stubborn, hardheaded people who did not listen to the Lord when push came to shove.  Also, I was hardheaded unexplainably.  I remember thinking that in the past I would have surrendered to will of church leadership.  Why was I unwilling this time?  It wasn’t like things were poppin’ and whistlin’ in the Spirit.  I read those verses yesterday and read them to April.  We both said, “Oh, my, God!  That’s exactly the way things were.”  I didn’t see it until now. Now the Spirit abounding in me makes it clear.

Ezekiel 37: 9 is still to be fulfilled on Sand Mountain.  I truly believe this is the way it will be, but I am still called by the Lord to prophecy to the breath in order for the slain to live. 

The Spirit made it clear to me that I am to write in order to record God coming to set the doomed free from their death cells.  Now the Spirit has made it clear that he spoke to me months in advance what was coming AND what is still to come.


I am so blessed that the Lord has and continues to speak and impress on my heart what has been going on in my heart in the recent past and what is still to come.  All of this truly thrills me and inspires me greatly to trust in him and that everything’s going to be alright.  And so, I will believe and listen.  Act swiftly, Lord.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Write

I haven’t written anything on this blog since November.  I grew to believe that my postings were more outlets of frustrations than anything beneficial.  I stopped, not knowing I’d ever write anything again, but here I am following inspiration and writing from heart . . . again.

Friday morning, I read my devotional readings from the Daily Office in the BCP which is my habit, and I found myself in familiar territory, Psalm 102.  Joyfully, I began to read.  I didn't get far when I found a phrase that echoed inside of me.  It was a plea of the heart that I’d expressed in different words recently.  I’d felt encouraged in my spirit to pray for God to act swiftly in our lives regarding some specific things.  In verse two I read, “Answer me speedily.”  That seemed to confirm what I’d been recently praying. 

I’ve known of such encouragement in my prayers just a few times in my life and this was another such pat on my back from the right hand of God – answer me speedily.  In those instances, God acted speedily.  I have every reason to trust that God will again come to our aid swiftly.  Alleluia!

I continued reading and found the words that seemed to transform my life years ago when I most needed it.  Verses 18-22 are the rhema words that still echo in my soul even after some 14 years.  I read those verses in the NRSV, but I have them printed and taped inside the cover of my Bible in The Message translation (thus the name of this blog).  In this translation I know the words best:

Write this down for the next generation
    so people not yet born will praise God:
God looked out from his high holy place;
    from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed,
    he opened the doors of their death cells.”
Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
    so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets
And wherever people gather together
    along with their rulers to worship him.

After reading both translations again, something dawned on me.  I don’t know if I’d ever noticed it before.  In The Message, the psalmist says write. Write.  The reader or listener shouldn't miss the insistence, but I've apparently missed it for years.  Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God.  Write it so the story can be told in Zion.  Years ago I heard and felt the heart of God in what is to be written.  God looked and heard and the opened in order to set free.  I knew this was the heart of my Father.  I was reborn when I read those words the first time, and since, this was always what caught my attention when I read Psalm 102.

Last Friday, a new wrinkle appeared.  The psalmist told me to write.  Write.  Write what the Father has done and is doing.  It is the heart of the Father to survey the earth and hear the groans of the doomed and open their death cells, but there is action called for by the reader.  Write this down so future generations will know and worship Him.  I won’t have the leisure to rant and rave my frustrations with the church or with my own frailties.  My primary responsibility will be to record what the Lord has done and is doing in setting the captives free.  Praise God!

Write.  I’m supposed to write.  In effect, I’m supposed to give testimony of what Jesus has done and expect more (Rev. 19:10).  I don’t have the option of ignoring what was supposed to be my duty in the first place of recording what God has done and is doing.

Before reading Psalm 102 with new eyes, I’d seen an episode of Pawn Stars where an expert was called in to authenticate the value of an item.  In this case, it was a mandolin.  The expert said that he’d never gone to work a day in his life, meaning that he loves what he does.  I heard that and understood what he meant, but I couldn’t completely relate because I have a calling and not a career.  I’m following a calling not for my own pleasure but for the sake of the one who called me.  In this calling, I know the heart of the Father, and NOW I know one of my primary tasks for the days ahead – record what God is about to do.

Not to forget verse 2, as the Lord as awakened me to write, the Lord is telling me to trust in him because he’s looking for me, for us, to join him in co-laboring NOW.  Pray “answer me speedily” and “act swiftly.”  The Lord is speaking and preparing us, if we have ears to hear.

I’m in awe of these discoveries.  I know what will be one of my primary tasks in the unprecedented revival in the years to come, and I was told years ago.  It leaves me speechless.  Good thing I have a keyboard.

I’m blessed.  Blessed to experience another confirmation that the mother of all revivals is about to unfold in fullness, and blessed that I have a small part to play in it.  And so, I will write.